The Info List - History Of Hinduism

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HISTORY OF HINDUISM denotes a wide variety of related Hindu denominations native to the Indian Subcontinent , most of whom live in modern-day India , Nepal , Pakistan , Bangladesh and Afghanistan . Adherents are also found in the Indonesian island of Bali . Its history overlaps or coincides with the development of Indian religions since Iron Age India . It has thus been called the "oldest living religion" in the world. Scholars regard Hinduism as a synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no single founder or source.

The history of Hinduism is often divided into periods of development, with the first period being that of the historical Vedic religion dated from about 1900 BCE to 1400 BCE. The subsequent period, between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, is "a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions", and a formative period for Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The Epic and Early Puranic period, from c. 200 BCE to 500 CE, saw the classical "Golden Age" of Hinduism (c. 320-650 CE), which coincides with the Gupta Empire . In this period the six branches of Hindu philosophy evolved, namely Samkhya , Yoga , Nyaya , Vaisheshika , Mīmāṃsā , and Vedanta . Monotheistic sects like Shaivism and Vaishnavism developed during this same period through the Bhakti movement . The period from roughly 650 to 1100 CE forms the late Classical period or early Middle Ages, in which classical Puranic Hinduism is established, and Adi Shankara 's Advaita Vedanta , which incorporated Buddhist thought into Vedanta, marking a shift from realistic to idealistic thought.

Hinduism under both Hindu and Islamic rulers from c. 1200 to 1750 CE, saw the increasing prominence of the Bhakti movement, which remains influential today. The colonial period saw the emergence of various Hindu reform movements partly inspired by western movements, such as Unitarianism and Theosophy . The Partition of India in 1947 was along religious lines, with the Republic of India emerging with a Hindu majority. During the 20th century, due to the Indian diaspora , Hindu minorities have formed in all continents, with the largest communities in absolute numbers in the United States and the United Kingdom . In the Republic of India, Hindu nationalism has emerged as a strong political force since the 1980s, the Hindutva Bharatiya Janata Party forming the Government of India from 1999 to 2004, and its first state government in South India in 2006, and also the Narendra Modi led Government from 2014.


* 1 Roots of Hinduism * 2 Periodisation

* 3 Prevedic religions (until c. 1750 BCE)

* 3.1 Prehistory * 3.2 Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300–1700 BCE)

* 4 Vedic period (c. 1750–500 BCE)

* 4.1 Origins

* 4.2 Rigvedic religion

* 4.2.1 Vedas * 4.2.2 Cosmic order * 4.2.3 Upanishads

* 4.3 Brahmanism

* 5 Second Urbanisation (c. 600–200 BCE)

* 5.1 Upanishads and shramana movements * 5.2 Survival of Vedic ritual * 5.3 Mauryan empire * 5.4 Sanskritization

* 6 Classical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE-1200 CE)

* 6.1 Pre-classical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE-320 CE)

* 6.1.1 Hindu synthesis * 6.1.2 Smriti * 6.1.3 Schools of Hindu pholosophy * 6.1.4 Sangam literature

* 6.2 "Golden Age" ( Gupta and Pallava period) (c. 320-650 CE)

* 6.2.1 Gupta and Pallava Empires * 6.2.2 Bhakti * 6.2.3 Expansion in South-East Asia

* 6.3 Late-Classical Hinduism - Puranic Hinduism (c. 650-1200 CE)

* 6.3.1 Puranic Hinduism * 6.3.2 Bhakti movement * 6.3.3 Advaita Vedanta * 6.3.4 Contact with Persia and Mesopotamia

* 7 Medieval and Early Modern Periods (c. 1200-1850 CE)

* 7.1 Muslim rule * 7.2 Unifying Hinduism

* 7.3 Early Modern period (c. 1500-1850 CE)

* 7.3.1 Mughal Empire * 7.3.2 Maratha Empire * 7.3.3 Early colonialism

* 8 Modern Hinduism (after c. 1850 CE)

* 8.1 Hindu revivalism * 8.2 Reception in the West

* 9 Contemporary Hinduism

* 9.1 South Asia * 9.2 Southeast Asia * 9.3 Neo- Hindu movements in the west * 9.4 Hindutva

* 10 See also * 11 Notes * 12 References * 13 Sources * 14 Further reading * 15 External links


Western scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions. Among its roots are the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India itself already the product of "a composite of the Indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations", but also the Sramana or renouncer traditions of northeast India , and mesolithic and neolithic cultures of India, such as the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation , Dravidian traditions, and the local traditions and tribal religions .

After the Vedic period, between 500 -200 BCE and c. 300 CE, at the beginning of the "Epic and Puranic" c.q. "Preclassical" period, the " Hindu synthesis" emerged, which incorporated śramaṇic and Buddhist influences and the emerging _bhakti_ tradition into the Brahmanical fold via the _smriti_ literature. This synthesis emerged under the pressure of the success of Buddhism and Jainism. During the Gupta reign the first Puranas were written, which were used to disseminate "mainstream religious ideology amongst pre-literate and tribal groups undergoing acculturation." The resulting Puranic Hinduism differed markedly from the earlier Brahmanism of the Dharmaśāstras and the _smritis_. Hinduism co-existed for several centuries with Buddhism, to finally gain the upper hand at all levels in the 8th century.

From northern India this " Hindu synthesis", and its societal divisions, spread to southern India and parts of Southeast Asia . It was aided by the settlement of Brahmins on land granted by local rulers, the incorporation and assimilation of popular non-Vedic gods, and the process of Sanskritization , in which "people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms". This process of assimilation explains the wide diversity of local cultures in India "half shrouded in a taddered cloak of conceptual unity."


See also: Outline of South Asian history


Palaeolithic (2,500,000–250,000 BCE)

Madrasian Culture (2,500,000 BCE)

Riwatian Culture (1,900,000 BCE)

Soanian Culture (500,000–250,000 BCE)

Neolithic (10,800–3300 BCE)

Bhirrana Culture (7570–6200 BCE)

Mehrgarh Culture (7000–3300 BCE)

Chalcolithic (3500–1500 BCE)

Jorwe Culture (3500–2000 BCE)

Ahar-Banas Culture (3000–1500 BCE)

Pandu Culture (1600–1500 BCE)

Bronze Age (3000–1300 BCE)

Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1300 BCE)

– Early Harappan Culture (3300–2600 BCE)

– Mature Harappan Culture (2600–1900 BCE)

Late Harappan Culture (1900–1300 BCE)

Vedic Civilisation (2000–500 BCE)

Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (2000–1600 BCE)

– Swat culture (1600–500 BCE)

Iron Age (1300–230 BCE)

Vedic Civilisation (2000–500 BCE)

– Janapadas (1500–600 BCE)

– Black and Red ware culture (1300–1000 BCE)

Painted Grey Ware culture (1200–600 BCE)

Northern Black Polished Ware (700–200 BCE)

Pradyota Dynasty (799–684 BCE)

Haryanka Dynasty (684–424 BCE)

Three Crowned Kingdoms (c. 600 BCE–1600 CE)

Maha Janapadas (c. 600–300 BCE)

Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE)

Ror Dynasty (450 BCE–489 CE)

Shishunaga Dynasty (424–345 BCE)

Nanda Empire (380–321 BCE)

Macedonian Empire (330–323 BCE)

Maurya Empire (321–184 BCE)

Seleucid Empire (312–63 BCE)

Pandya Empire (c. 300 BCE–1345 CE)

Chera Kingdom (c. 300 BCE–1102 CE)

Chola Empire (c. 300 BCE–1279 CE)

Pallava Empire (c. 250 BCE–800 CE)

Maha-Megha-Vahana Empire (c. 250 BCE–c. 500 CE)

Parthian Empire (247 BCE–224 CE)

Classical Period (230 BCE–1206 CE)

Satavahana Empire (230 BCE–220 CE)

Kuninda Kingdom (200 BCE–300 CE)

Indo-Scythian Kingdom (200 BCE–400 CE)

Mitra Dynasty (c. 150 BCE–c. 50 BCE)

Shunga Empire (185–73 BCE)

Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BCE–10 CE)

Kanva Empire (75–26 BCE)

Indo-Parthian Kingdom (21–c. 130 CE)

Western Satrap Empire (35–405 CE)

Kushan Empire (60–240 CE)

Bharshiva Dynasty (170–350 CE)

Nagas of Padmavati (210–340 CE)

Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE)

Indo- Sassanid Kingdom (230–360 CE)

Vakataka Empire (c. 250–c. 500 CE)

Kalabhras Empire (c. 250–c. 600 CE)

Gupta Empire (280–550 CE)

Kadamba Empire (345–525 CE)

Western Ganga Kingdom (350–1000 CE)

Kamarupa Kingdom (350–1100 CE)

Vishnukundina Empire (420–624 CE)

Maitraka Empire (475–767 CE)

Huna Kingdom (475–576 CE)

Rai Kingdom (489–632 CE)

Kabul Shahi Empire (c. 500–1026 CE)

Chalukya Empire (543–753 CE)

Maukhari Empire (c. 550–c. 700 CE)

Harsha Empire (606–647 CE)

Tibetan Empire (618–841 CE)

Eastern Chalukya Kingdom (624–1075 CE)

Rashidun Caliphate (632–661 CE)

Gurjara-Pratihara Empire (650–1036 CE)

Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE)

Pala Empire (750–1174 CE)

Rashtrakuta Empire (753–982 CE)

Paramara Kingdom (800–1327 CE)

Yadava Empire (850–1334 CE)

Chaulukya Kingdom (942–1244 CE)

Western Chalukya Empire (973–1189 CE)

Lohara Kingdom (1003–1320 CE)

Hoysala Empire (1040–1346 CE)

Sena Empire (1070–1230 CE)

Eastern Ganga Empire (1078–1434 CE)

Kakatiya Kingdom (1083–1323 CE)

Karnatas of Mithila (1097-1325 CE)

Zamorin Kingdom (1102–1766 CE)

Kalachuris of Tripuri (675-1210 CE)

Kalachuris of Kalyani (1156–1184 CE)

Sutiya Kingdom (1187-1673 CE)

Deva Kingdom (c. 1200–c. 1300 CE)

Medieval and Early Modern Periods (1206–1858 CE)

Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 CE)

– Mamluk Sultanate (1206–1290 CE)

– Khilji Sultanate (1290–1320 CE)

– Tughlaq Sultanate (1320–1414 CE)

– Sayyid Sultanate (1414–1451 CE)

– Lodi Sultanate (1451–1526 CE)

Ahom Kingdom (1228–1826 CE)

Chitradurga Kingdom (1300–1779 CE)

Oinwar dynasty (1323-1526 CE)

Reddy Kingdom (1325–1448 CE)

Vijayanagara Empire (1336–1646 CE)

Garhwal Kingdom (1358–1803 CE)

Mysore Kingdom (1399–1947 CE)

Gajapati Kingdom (1434–1541 CE)

Deccan Sultanates (1490–1596 CE)

Ahmadnagar Sultanate (1490–1636 CE)

Berar Sultanate (1490–1574 CE)

Bidar Sultanate (1492–1619 CE)

Bijapur Sultanate (1492–1686 CE)

Golkonda Sultanate (1518–1687 CE)

Keladi Kingdom (1499–1763 CE)

Koch Kingdom (1515–1947 CE)

Mughal Empire (1526–1858 CE)

Sur Empire (1540–1556 CE)

Madurai Kingdom (1559–1736 CE)

Thanjavur Kingdom (1572–1918 CE)

Marava Kingdom (1600–1750 CE)

Thondaiman Kingdom (1650–1948 CE)

Maratha Empire (1674–1818 CE)

Sikh Confederacy (1707–1799 CE)

Travancore Kingdom (1729–1947 CE)

Sikh Empire (1799–1849 CE)

Colonial Period (1510–1961 CE)

Portuguese India (1510–1961 CE)

Dutch India (1605–1825 CE)

Danish India (1620–1869 CE)

French India (1759–1954 CE)

Company Raj (1757–1858 CE)

British Raj (1858–1947 CE)

Kingdoms and Colonies of Sri Lanka (544 BCE–1948 CE)

Kingdom of Tambapanni (543–505 BCE)

Kingdom of Upatissa Nuwara (505–377 BCE)

Anuradhapura Kingdom (377 BCE–1017 CE)

Kingdom of Ruhuna (200 CE)

Kingdom of Polonnaruwa (300–1310 CE)

Jaffna Kingdom (1215–1624 CE)

Kingdom of Dambadeniya (1220–1272 CE)

Kingdom of Yapahuwa (1272–1293 CE)

Kingdom of Kurunegala (1293–1341 CE)

Kingdom of Gampola (1341–1347 CE)

Kingdom of Raigama (1347–1415 CE)

Kingdom of Kotte (1412–1597 CE)

Kingdom of Sitawaka (1521–1594 CE)

Kingdom of Kandy (1469–1815 CE)

Portuguese Ceylon (1505–1658 CE)

Dutch Ceylon (1656–1796 CE)

British Ceylon (1815–1948 CE)

National histories

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Regional histories

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James Mill (1773–1836), in his The History of British India (1817), distinguished three phases in the history of India, namely Hindu, Muslim and British civilisations. This periodisation has been criticised, for the misconceptions it has given rise to. Another periodisation is the division into "ancient, classical, medieval and modern periods", although this periodization has also received criticism.

Romila Thapar notes that the division of Hindu-Muslim-British periods of Indian history gives too much weight to "ruling dynasties and foreign invasions," neglecting the social-economic history which often showed a strong continuity. The division in Ancient-Medieval-Modern overlooks the fact that the Muslim-conquests took place between the eight and the fourteenth century, while the south was never completely conquered. According to Thapar, a periodisation could also be based on "significant social and economic changes," which are not strictly related to a change of ruling powers.

Smart and Michaels seem to follow Mill's periodisation, while Flood and Muesse follow the "ancient, classical, medieval and modern periods" periodisation. An elaborate periodisation may be as follows:

* Pre-history and Indus Valley Civilisation (until c. 1750 BCE); * Vedic period (c. 1750-500 BCE); * "Second Urbanisation" (c. 600-200 BCE); * Classical Period (c. 200 BCE-1200 CE);

* Pre-classical period (c. 200 BCE-300 CE); * "Golden Age" ( Gupta Empire) (c. 320-650 CE); * Late-Classical period (c. 650-1200 CE);

* Medieval Period (c. 1200-1500 CE); * Early Modern Period (c. 1500-1850); * Modern period ( British Raj and independence) (from c. 1850).


James Mill (1773–1836), in his _The History of British India _ (1817), distinguished three phases in the history of India, namely Hindu, Muslim and British civilisations. This periodisation has been influential, but has also been criticised, for the misconceptions it has given rise to. Another influential periodisation is the division into "ancient, classical, mediaeval and modern periods".

SMART Michaels (overall) Michaels (detailed) MUESSE FLOOD

Indus Valley Civilisation and Vedic period (c. 3000–1000 BCE) Prevedic religions (until c. 1750 BCE) Prevedic religions (until c. 1750 BCE) Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1400 BCE) Indus Valley Civilisation (c. 2500 to 1500 BCE)

Vedic religion (c. 1750–500 BCE) Early Vedic Period (c. 1750–1200 BCE) Vedic Period (1600–800 BCE) Vedic period (c. 1500–500 BCE)

Middle Vedic Period (from 1200 BCE)

Pre-classical period (c. 1000 BCE – 100 CE) Late Vedic period (from 850 BCE) Classical Period (800–200 BCE)

Ascetic reformism (c. 500–200 BCE) Ascetic reformism (c. 500–200 BCE) Epic and Puranic period (c. 500 BCE to 500 CE)

Classical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE – 1100 CE) Preclassical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE – 300 CE) Epic and Puranic period (200 BCE – 500 CE)

Classical period (c. 100 – 1000 CE) "Golden Age" ( Gupta Empire ) (c. 320–650 CE)

Late-Classical Hinduism (c. 650–1100 CE) Medieval and Late Puranic Period (500–1500 CE) Medieval and Late Puranic Period (500–1500 CE)

Hindu-Islamic civilisation (c. 1000–1750 CE) Islamic rule and "Sects of Hinduism" (c. 1100–1850 CE) Islamic rule and "Sects of Hinduism" (c. 1100–1850 CE)

Modern Age (1500–present) Modern period (c. 1500 CE to present)

Modern period (c. 1750 CE – present) Modern Hinduism (from c. 1850) Modern Hinduism (from c. 1850)


NOTES Smart and Michaels seem to follow Mill's periodisation (Michaels mentions Flood 1996 as a source for "Prevedic Religions". ), while Flood and Muesse follow the "ancient, classical, mediaeval and modern periods" periodisation.

Different periods are designated as "classical Hinduism":

* Smart calls the period between 1000 BCE and 100 CE "pre-classical". It's the formative period for the Upanishads and Brahmanism (Smart distinguishes "Brahmanism" from the Vedic religion, connecting "Brahmanism" with the Upanishads. ), Jainism and Buddhism. For Smart, the "classical period" lasts from 100 to 1000 CE, and coincides with the flowering of "classical Hinduism" and the flowering and deterioration of Mahayana-buddhism in India. * For Michaels, the period between 500 BCE and 200 BCE is a time of "Ascetic reformism", whereas the period between 200 BCE and 1100 CE is the time of "classical Hinduism", since there is "a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions". * Muesse discerns a longer period of change, namely between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, which he calls the "Classical Period". According to Muesse, some of the fundamental concepts of Hinduism, namely karma, reincarnation and "personal enlightenment and transformation", which did not exist in the Vedic religion, developed in this time.


* ^ Khanna 2007, p.xvii * ^ Khanna 2007, p.xvii * ^ Misra 2004, p.194 * ^ Kulke & Rothermund 2004, p.7 * ^ Flood 1996, p.21 * ^ Smart 2003, p.52-53 * ^ Michaels 2004 * ^ Michaels 2004 * ^ Muesse 2011 * ^ Flood 1996, p.21-22 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.32 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.32 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.38 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.39 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.40 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.41 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.43 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.43 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.45 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.45 * ^ Smart 2003, p.52-53 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.32 * ^ Michaels 2004, p. 31, 348 * ^ Flood 1996 * ^ Muesse 2003 * ^ Muesse 2011 * ^ Muesse 2011, p.16 * ^ Smart 2003, p. 52, 83-86 * ^ Smart 2003, p.52 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.36 * ^ Michaels 2004, p.38 * ^ Muesse 2003, p.14


* Bentley, Jerry H. (1996). _Cross-Cultural Interaction and Periodization in World History_. _The American Historical Review_. 101. pp. 749–770. * Flood, Gavin D. (1996). _An Introduction to Hinduism_. Cambridge University Press. * Khanna, Meenakshi (2007). _Cultural History Of Medieval India_. Berghahn Books. * Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004), _A History of India_, Routledge * Michaels, Axel (2004). _Hinduism. Past and present_. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. * Misra, Amalendu (2004). _Identity and Religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India_. SAGE. * Muesse, Mark William (2003). _Great World Religions: Hinduism_. * Muesse, Mark W. (2011). _The Hindu Traditions: A Concise Introduction_. Fortress Press. * Smart, Ninian (2003). _Godsdiensten van de wereld (The World's religions)_. Kampen: Uitgeverij Kok.



Anatomically modern humans are thought to have arrived in South India about 75,000 – 60,000 years back, during Paleolithic times. These people were Australoids who may have been closely related to Aboriginal Australians . They are probably almost extinct or largely covered by successive waves.

After the Australoids, Caucasoids , including both Elamo-Dravidians (c. 4,000 to 6,000 BCE) and Indo-Aryans (c.2,000 -1,500 BCE ), and Mongoloids (Sino-Tibetans ) immigrated into India. The Elamo-Dravidians possibly from Elam , present-day Iran, and the Tibeto-Burmans possibly from the Himalayan and north-eastern borders of the subcontinent.

The earliest prehistoric religion in India that may have left its traces in Hinduism comes from mesolithic as observed in the sites such as the rock paintings of Bhimbetka rock shelters dating to a period of 30,000 BCE or older, as well as neolithic times. Some of the religious practices can be considered to have originated in 4,000 BCE. Several tribal religions still exist, though "e must not assume that there are many similarities between prehistoric and contemporary tribal communities".


Main article: Indus Valley Civilization _ The so-called Shiva Pashupati_ seal from Indus Valley Civilization Further information: Prehistoric religion and History of Jainism

Some Indus valley seals show swastikas , which are found in other religions worldwide. Phallic symbols interpreted as the much later Hindu linga have been found in the Harappan remains. Swastika Seals from the Indus Valley Civilization preserved at the British Museum

Many Indus valley seals show animals. One seal shows a horned figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named by early excavators " Pashupati ", an epithet of the later Hindu gods Shiva and Rudra . Writing in 1997, Doris Meth Srinivasan said, "Not too many recent studies continue to call the seal's figure a "Proto-Siva," rejecting thereby Marshall's package of proto- Shiva features, including that of three heads. She interprets what John Marshall interpreted as facial as not human but more bovine, possibly a divine buffalo-man. According to Iravatham Mahadevan , symbols 47 and 48 of his Indus script glossary _The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables_ (1977), representing seated human-like figures, could describe the South Indian deity Murugan .

In view of the large number of figurines found in the Indus valley, some scholars believe that the Harappan people worshipped a mother goddess symbolizing fertility, a common practice among rural Hindus even today. However, this view has been disputed by S. Clark who sees it as an inadequate explanation of the function and construction of many of the figurines.

There are no religious buildings or evidence of elaborate burials... If there were temples, they have not been identified. However, House - 1 in HR-A area in Mohenjadaro's Lower Town has been identified as a possible temple.

VEDIC PERIOD (C. 1750–500 BCE)

Main articles: Vedic period , Vedic Civilisation , Historical Vedic religion , and Vedic Sanskrit Further information: Iron Age India

The commonly proposed period of earlier Vedic age is dated back to 2nd millennium BCE. Vedism was the sacrificial religion of the early Indo-Aryans , speakers of early Old Indic dialects, ultimately deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian peoples of the Bronze Age.



_ Indo-European languages ca. 3500 BC Indo-European languages ca. 2500 BC Indo-European languages ca. 1500 BC Indo-European languages ca. 500 BC Indo-European languages ca. 500 AD


The Yamna culture 3500-2000 BC. Scheme of Indo-European migrations from ca. 4000 to 1000 BCE according to the Kurgan hypothesis . The magenta area corresponds to the assumed Urheimat _ ( Samara culture , Sredny Stog culture ). The red area corresponds to the area which may have been settled by Indo-European-speaking peoples up to ca. 2500 BCE; the orange area to 1000 BCE. (Christopher I. Beckwith (2009), _Empires of the Silk Road_, Oxford University Press, p.30) Map of the approximate maximal extent of the Andronovo culture. The formative Sintashta-Petrovka culture is shown in darker red. The location of the earliest spoke -wheeled chariot finds is indicated in purple. Adjacent and overlapping cultures ( Afanasevo culture , Srubna culture , BMAC ) are shown in green. Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC ). The Andronovo , BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The GGC , Cemetery H , Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan movements. Early Vedic Period.

Main articles: Indo-Aryans and Indo-Aryan migration See also: Proto-Indo-Europeans , Proto-Indo-European religion , Indo-Iranians , and Proto-Indo-Iranian religion

The Vedic period, named after the Vedic religion of the Indo-Aryans , lasted from c. 1750 to 500 BCE. The Indo-Aryans were a branch of the Indo-European language family, which many scholars believe originated in Kurgan culture of the Central Asian steppes . Indeed, the Vedic religion, including the names of certain deities, was in essence a branch of the same religious tradition as the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians, and Germanic peoples. For example, the Vedic god Dyaus Pita is a variant of the Proto-Indo-European god *Dyēus ph2ter (or simply *Dyēus), from which also derive the Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter . Similarly the Vedic Manu and Yama derive from the PIE *Manu and *Yemo, from which also derive the Germanic Mannus and Ymir .

The Indo-Aryans were pastoralists who migrated into north-western India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization, The Indo-Aryans were a branch of the Indo-Iranians , which originated in the Andronovo culture in the Bactria - Margiana era, in present northern Afghanistan. The roots of this culture go back further to the Sintashta culture , with funeral sacrifices which show close parallels to the sacrificial funeral rites of the _ Rig Veda _.

The Indo-Aryans split-off around 1800-1600 BCE from the Iranians, where-after they were defeated and split into two groups by the Iranians, who dominated the Central Eurasian steppe zone and "chased them to the extermities of Central Eurasia." One group were the Indo-Aryans who founded the Mitanni kingdom in northern Syria (ca.1500-1300 BCE). The other group were the Vedic people, who were pursued by the Iranians "across the Near East to the Levant (the lands of the eastern Mediterranean littoral), across Iran into India."

During the Early Vedic period (c. 1500 - 1100 BCE ) Vedic tribes were pastoralists, wandering around in north-west India. After 1100 BCE, with the introduction of iron, the Vedic tribes moved into the western Ganges Plain, adapting an agrarian lifestyle. Rudimentary state-forms appeared, of which the Kuru -tribe and realm was the most influential. It was a tribal union, which developed into the first recorded state-level society in South Asia around 1000 BCE. It decisively changed the Vedic heritage of the early Vedic period, collecting the Vedic hymns into collections, and developing new rituals which gained their position in Indian civilization as the orthodox srauta rituals, which contributed to the so-called "classical synthesis" or " Hindu synthesis" .


The Indo-Aryans brought with them their language and religion. The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion , and the Indo-Iranian religion. According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between the Zeravshan River (present-day Uzbekistan ) and (present-day) Iran. It was "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements", which borrowed "distinctive religious beliefs and practices" from the Bactria– Margiana Culture . At least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the god Indra and the ritual drink Soma . According to Anthony,

Many of the qualities of Indo-Iranian god of might/victory, Verethraghna , were transferred to the adopted god Indra, who became the central deity of the developing Old Indic culture. Indra was the subject of 250 hymns, a quarter of the _Rig Veda_. He was associated more than any other deity with _Soma_, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived from _Ephedra_) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.

The oldest inscriptions in Old Indic, the language of the _Rig Veda_, are found not in northwestern India and Pakistan, but in northern Syria, the location of the Mitanni kingdom. The Mitanni kings took Old Indic throne names, and used Old Indic technical terms were used for horse-riding and chariot-driving. The Old Indic term r\'ta , meaning "cosmic order and truth", the central concept of the _Rig Veda_, was also employed in the mitanni kingdom. And Old Indic gods, including Indra , were also known in the Mitanni kingdom.

Their religion was further developed when they migrated into the Ganges Plain after c. 1100 BCE and became settled farmers, further syncretising with the native cultures of northern India. The Vedic religion of the later Vedic period co-existed with local religions, such as the Yaksha cults, and was itself the product of "a composite of the indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations". David Gordon White cites three other mainstream scholars who "have emphatically demonstrated" that Vedic religion is partially derived from the Indus Valley Civilizations . Their religion was further developed when they migrated into the Ganges Plain after c. 1100 BCE and became settled farmers, further syncretising with the native cultures of northern India.


Its liturgy is preserved in the three Vedic Samhitas : the Rig-Veda , Sama-Veda and the Yajur-Veda . The Vedic texts were the texts of the elite, and do not necessarily represent popular ideas or practices. Of these, the Rig-Veda is the oldest, a collection of hymns composed between ca. 1500-1200 BCE. The other two add ceremonial detail for the performance of the actual sacrifice. The Atharva-Veda may also contain compositions dating to before 1000 BCE. It contains material pertinent to domestic ritual and folk magic of the period.

These texts, as well as the voluminous commentary on orthopraxy collected in the Brahmanas compiled during the early 1st millennium BCE, were transmitted by oral tradition alone until the advent, in the 4th century AD, of the Pallava and Gupta period and by a combination of written and oral tradition since then.

The Hindu samskaras

...go back to a hoary antiquity. The Vedas, the Brahmanas, the Grhyasutras, the Dharmasutras, the Smritis and other treatises describe the rites, ceremonies and customs.

The earliest text of the Vedas is the Rigveda , a collection of poetic hymns used in the sacrificial rites of Vedic priesthood . Many Rigvedic hymns concern the fire ritual ( Agnihotra ) and especially the offering of Soma to the gods ( Somayajna ). Soma is both an intoxicant and a god itself, as is the sacrificial fire, Agni . The royal horse sacrifice ( Ashvamedha ) is a central rite in the Yajurveda .

The gods in the Rig-Veda are mostly personified concepts, who fall into two categories: the devas – who were gods of nature – such as the weather deity Indra (who is also the King of the gods), Agni ("fire"), Usha ("dawn"), Surya ("sun") and Apas ("waters") on the one hand, and on the other hand the asuras – gods of moral concepts – such as Mitra ("contract"), Aryaman (guardian of guest, friendship and marriage), Bhaga ("share") or Varuna , the supreme Asura (or Aditya). While Rigvedic _deva_ is variously applied to most gods, including many of the Asuras, the Devas are characterised as Younger Gods while Asuras are the Older Gods (pūrve devāḥ). In later Vedic texts, the Asuras become demons.

The Rigveda has 10 Mandalas ('books'). There is significant variation in the language and style between the family books (RV books 2–7), book 8 , the "Soma Mandala" (RV 9 ), and the more recent books 1 and 10 . The older books share many aspects of common Indo-Iranian religion, and is an important source for the reconstruction of earlier common Indo-European traditions . Especially RV 8 has striking similarity to the Avesta , containing allusions to Afghan Flora and Fauna, e.g. to camels (_úṣṭra-_ = Avestan _uštra_). Many of the central religious terms in Vedic Sanskrit have cognates in the religious vocabulary of other Indo-European languages (_deva_: Latin _deus_; _hotar _: Germanic _god _; _asura_: Germanic _ansuz _; _yajna _: Greek _hagios_; _brahman _: Norse _ Bragi _ or perhaps Latin _flamen _ etc.). Especially notable is the fact, that in the Avesta Asura (Ahura) is known as good and Deva (Daeva) as evil entity, quite the opposite of the RigVeda.

Cosmic Order

Ethics in the Vedas are based on the concepts of Satya and Rta . Satya is the principle of integration rooted in the Absolute. Ṛta is the expression of Satya, which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. Conformity with Ṛta would enable progress whereas its violation would lead to punishment. Panikkar remarks:

_Ṛta_ is the ultimate foundation of everything; it is "the supreme", although this is not to be understood in a static sense. It is the expression of the primordial dynamism that is inherent in everything...."

The term "dharma" was already used in Brahmanical thought, where it was conceived as an aspect of Rta . The term rta is also known from the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion , the religion of the Indo-Iranian peoples prior to the earliest Vedic (Indo-Aryan) and Zoroastrian (Iranian) scriptures. _ Asha _ (_aša_) is the Avestan language term corresponding to Vedic language ṛta .


The 9th and 8th centuries BCE witnessed the composition of the earliest Upanishads. :183 Upanishads form the theoretical basis of classical Hinduism and are known as Vedanta (conclusion of the Veda ). The older Upanishads launched attacks of increasing intensity on the rituals, however, a philosophical and allegorical meaning is also given to these rituals. In some later Upanishads there is a spirit of accommodation towards rituals. The tendency which appears in the philosophical hymns of the Vedas to reduce the number of gods to one principle becomes prominent in the Upanishads. The diverse monistic speculations of the Upanishads were synthesised into a theistic framework by the sacred Hindu scripture _ Bhagavad Gita _.


Further information: Brahmana , Aranyaka , and Shrauta Sutra

In Iron Age India , during a period roughly spanning the 10th to 6th centuries BCE, the Mahajanapadas arise from the earlier petty kingdoms of the various Rigvedic tribes , and the failing remnants of the Late Harappan culture. In this period the _mantra_ portions of the Vedas are largely completed, and a flowering industry of Vedic priesthood organised in numerous schools (shakha ) develops exegetical literature, viz. the Brahmanas . These schools also edited the Vedic _mantra_ portions into fixed recensions, that were to be preserved purely by oral tradition over the following two millennia.



Main articles: Upanishads and Shramana

Increasing urbanisation of India in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE led to the rise of new ascetic or sramana movements which challenged the orthodoxy of rituals. Mahavira (c. 549–477 BCE), proponent of Jainism , and Buddha (c. 563-483 BCE), founder of Buddhism , were the most prominent icons of this movement. :184 According to Heinrich Zimmer , Jainism and Buddhism are part of the pre-Vedic heritage, which also includes Samkhya and Yoga:

does not derive from Brahman-Aryan sources, but reflects the cosmology and anthropology of a much older pre-Aryan upper class of northeastern India - being rooted in the same subsoil of archaic metaphysical speculation as Yoga, Sankhya, and Buddhism, the other non-Vedic Indian systems.

The Sramana tradition in part created the concept of the cycle of birth and death, the concept of samsara , and the concept of liberation, which became characteristic for Hinduism.

Pratt notes that Oldenberg (1854-1920), Neumann (1865-1915) and Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) believed that the Buddhist canon had been influenced by Upanishads, while la Vallee Poussin thinks the influence was nihil, and "Eliot and several others insist that on some points the Buddha was directly antithetical to the Upanishads".


Main article: Śrauta

Vedism as the religious tradition of Hinduism of a priestly elite was marginalised by other traditions such as Jainism and Buddhism in the later Iron Age, but in the Middle Ages would rise to renewed prestige with the Mimamsa school, which as well as all other _astika _ traditions of Hinduism, considered them authorless (_apaurusheyatva _) and eternal. A last surviving elements of the Historical Vedic religion or Vedism is Śrauta tradition, following many major elements of Vedic religion and is prominent in Southern India , with communities in Tamil Nadu , Kerala , Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh , but also in some pockets of Uttar Pradesh , Maharashtra and other states; the best known of these groups are the Nambudiri of Kerala, whose traditions were notably documented by Frits Staal .


Main article: Maurya Empire

The Mauryan period saw an early flowering of classical Sanskrit Sutra and Shastra literature and the scholarly exposition of the "circum-Vedic" fields of the Vedanga . However, during this time Buddhism was patronised by Ashoka , who ruled large parts of India, and Buddhism was also the mainstream religion until the Gupta empire period.


Main article: Sanskritization

Since Vedic times, "people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms", a process sometimes called Sanskritization . It is reflected in the tendency to identify local deities with the gods of the Sanskrit texts.



Main articles: Sangam period and Sangam literature See also: Hinduism and Buddhism , Vedanga , Dharmaśāstra , Yoga Sutras , Nyāya Sūtras , and Brahma Sutras

Hindu Synthesis

Between 500 -200 BCE and c. 300 CE developed the " Hindu synthesis", which incorporated Sramanic and Buddhist influences and the emerging _bhakti_ tradition into the Brahmanical fold via the _smriti_ literature. This synthesis emerged under the pressure of the success of Buddhism and Jainism.

According to Embree, several other religious traditions had existed side by side with the Vedic religion. These indigenous religions "eventually found a place under the broad mantle of the Vedic religion". When Brahmanism was declining and had to compete with Buddhism and Jainism, the popular religions had the opportunity to assert themselves. According to Embree,

he Brahmanists themselves seem to have encouraged this development to some extent as a means of meeting the challenge of the heterodox movements. At the same time, among the indigenous religions, a common allegiance to the authority of the Veda provided a thin, but nonetheless significant, thread of unity amid their variety of gods and religious practices.


According to Larson, the Brahmins responded with assimilation and consolidation. This is reflected in the _smriti_ literature which took shape in this period. The _smriti _ texts of the period between 200 BCE-100 CE proclaim the authority of the Vedas , and acceptance of the Vedas became a central criterium for defining Hinduism over and against the heterodoxies, which rejected the Vedas. Most of the basic ideas and practices of classical Hinduism derive from the new _smriti_ literature.

Of the six Hindu darsanas, the Mimamsa and the Vedanta "are rooted primarily in the Vedic _sruti_ tradition and are sometimes called _smarta_ schools in the sense that they develop _smarta_ orthodox current of thoughts that are based, like _smriti_, directly on _sruti_. According to Hiltebeitel, "the consolidation of Hinduism takes place under the sign of _bhakti_". It is the _Bhagavadgita_ that seals this achievement. The result is an "universal achievement" that may be called _smarta _. It views Shiva and Vishnu as "complementary in their functions but ontologically identical".

The major Sanskrit epics, _ Ramayana _ and _ Mahabharata _, which belong to the _smriti_, were compiled over a protracted period during the late centuries BCE and the early centuries CE. They contain mythological stories about the rulers and wars of ancient India, and are interspersed with religious and philosophical treatises. The later Puranas recount tales about devas and devis , their interactions with humans and their battles against rakshasa . The Bhagavad Gita "seals the achievement" of the "consolidation of Hinduism", integrating Brahmanic and sramanic ideas with theistic devotion.

Schools Of Hindu Pholosophy

In early centuries CE several schools of Hindu philosophy were formally codified, including Samkhya , Yoga , Nyaya , Vaisheshika , Purva- Mimamsa and Vedanta .

Sangam Literature

The Sangam literature (300 BCE – 300 CE) is a mostly secular body of classical literature in the Tamil language . Nonetheless there are some works, significantly Pattupathu and Paripaatal, wherein the personal devotion to god was written in form of devotional poems. Vishnu , Shiva and Murugan were mentioned gods. These works are therefore the earliest evidences of monotheistic Bhakti traditions, preceding the large bhakti movement , which was given great attention in later times.


Further information: Hindu philosophy , Mimamsa , and Samkhya

During this period, power was centralised, along with a growth of far distance trade, standardization of legal procedures, and general spread of literacy. Mahayana Buddhism flourished, but orthodox Brahmana culture began to be rejuvenated by the patronage of the Gupta Dynasty, who were Vaishnavas. The position of the Brahmans was reinforced, the first Hindu temples dedicated to the gods of the Hindu deities , emerged during the late Gupta age. During the Gupta reign the first Puranas were written, which were used to disseminate "mainstream religious ideology amongst pre-literate and tribal groups undergoing acculturation." The Guptas patronised the newly emerging Puranic religion, seeking legitimacy for their dynasty. The resulting Puranic Hinduism, differed markedly from the earlier Brahmanism of the Dharmasastras and the _smritis_.

According to P.S. Sharma "the Gupta and Harsha periods form really, from the strictly intellectual standpoint, the most brilliant epocha in the development of Indian philosophy", as Hindu and Buddhist philosophies flourished side by side. Charvaka , the atheistic materialist school, came to the fore in North India before the 8th century CE.

Gupta And Pallava Empires

Main articles: Pallava and Gupta Empire

The Gupta period (4th to 6th centuries) saw a flowering of scholarship, the emergence of the classical schools of Hindu philosophy , and of classical Sanskrit literature in general on topics ranging from medicine, veterinary science, mathematics, to astrology and astronomy and astrophysics. The famous Aryabhata and Varahamihira belong to this age. The Gupta established a strong central government which also allowed a degree of local control. Gupta society was ordered in accordance with Hindu beliefs. This included a strict caste system, or class system. The peace and prosperity created under Gupta leadership enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors.

The Pallavas (4th to 9th centuries) were, alongside the Guptas of the North , patronisers of Sanskrit in the South of the Indian subcontinent . The Pallava reign saw the first Sankrit inscriptions in a script called Grantha . Early Pallavas had different connexions to Southeast Asian countries. The Pallavas used Dravidian architecture to build some very important Hindu temples and academies in Mamallapuram , Kanchipuram and other places; their rule saw the rise of great poets, who are as famous as Kalidasa .

The practice of dedicating temples to different deities came into vogue followed by fine artistic temple architecture and sculpture (see Vastu Shastra ).


This period saw the emergence of the Bhakti movement . The Bhakti movement was a rapid growth of _bhakti_ beginning in Tamil Nadu in Southern India with the Saiva Nayanars (4th to 10th centuries CE) and the Vaisnava Alvars (3rd to 9th centuries CE) who spread _bhakti_ poetry and devotion throughout India by the 12th to 18th centuries CE.

Expansion In South-East Asia

Further information: Hinduism in Southeast Asia , Sanskritisation , and Greater India Expansion of Hinduism in Southeast Asia.

Hindu influences reached the Indonesian Archipelago as early as first century. At this time, India started to strongly influence Southeast Asian countries. Trade routes linked India with southern Burma , central and southern Siam , lower Cambodia and southern Vietnam and numerous urbanised coastal settlements were established there.

For more than a thousand years, Indian Hindu/Buddhist influence was therefore the major factor that brought a certain level of cultural unity to the various countries of the region. The Pali and Sanskrit languages and the Indian script, together with Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism , Brahmanism and Hinduism , were transmitted from direct contact as well as through sacred texts and Indian literature, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata epics.

From the 5th to the 13th century, South-East Asia had very powerful Indian colonial empires and became extremely active in Hindu and Buddhist architectural and artistic creation. The Sri Vijaya Empire to the south and the Khmer Empire to the north competed for influence.

Langkasuka (-_langkha_ Sanskrit for "resplendent land" -_sukkha_ of "bliss") was an ancient Hindu kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula . The kingdom, along with Old Kedah settlement, are probably the earliest territorial footholds founded on the Malay Peninsula. According to tradition, the founding of the kingdom happened in the 2nd century; Malay legends claim that Langkasuka was founded at Kedah , and later moved to Pattani .

From the 5th-15th centuries Sri Vijayan empire , a maritime empire centred on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia , had adopted Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism under a line of rulers named the Sailendras . The Empire of Sri Vijaya declined due to conflicts with the Chola rulers of India. The Majapahit Empire succeeded the Singhasari empire. It was one of the last and greatest Hindu empires in Maritime Southeast Asia .

Funan was a pre- Angkor Cambodian kingdom, located around the Mekong delta, probably established by Mon-Khmer settlers speaking an Austroasiatic language. According to reports by two Chinese envoys, K\'ang T\'ai and Chu Ying , the state was established by an Indian Brahmin named Kaundinya , who in the 1st century CE was given instruction in a dream to take a magic bow from a temple and defeat a Khmer queen, Soma . Soma, the daughter of the king of the Nagas , married Kaundinya and their lineage became the royal dynasty of Funan. The myth had the advantage of providing the legitimacy of both an Indian Brahmin and the divinity of the cobras, who at that time were held in religious regard by the inhabitants of the region.

The kingdom of Champa (or _Lin-yi_ in Chinese records) controlled what is now south and central Vietnam from approximately 192 through 1697. The dominant religion of the Cham people was Hinduism and the culture was heavily influenced by India.

Later, from the 9th to the 13th century, the Mahayana Buddhist and Hindu Khmer Empire dominated much of the South-East Asian peninsula. Under the Khmer, more than 900 temples were built in Cambodia and in neighboring Thailand. Angkor was at the centre of this development, with a temple complex and urban organisation able to support around one million urban dwellers. The largest temple complex of the world, Angkor Wat, stands here; built by the king Vishnuvardhan.


_See also Late-Classical Age ._

After the end of the Gupta Empire and the collapse of the Harsha Empire, power became decentralised in India. Several larger kingdoms emerged, with "countless vasal states". The kingdoms were ruled via a feudal system. Smaller kingdoms were dependent on the protection of the larger kingdoms. "The great king was remote, was exalted and deified", as reflected in the Tantric Mandala , which could also depict the king as the centre of the mandala.

The disintegration of central power also lead to regionalisation of religiosity, and religious rivalry. Local cults and languages were enhanced, and the influence of "Brahmanic ritualistic Hinduism" was diminished. Rural and devotional movements arose, along with Shaivism , Vaisnavism , Bhakti and Tantra , though "sectarian groupings were only at the beginning of their development". Religious movements had to compete for recognition by the local lords. Buddhism lost its position after the 8th century, and began to disappear in India. This was reflected in the change of puja-ceremonies at the courts in the 8th century, where Hindu gods replaced the Buddha as the "supreme, imperial deity".

Puranic Hinduism

Further information: Puranas

The Brahmanism of the Dharmashastras and the _smritis_ underwent a radical transformation at the hands of the Purana composers, resulting in the rise of Puranic Hinduism, "which like a colossus striding across the religious firmanent soon came to overshadow all existing religions". Puranic Hinduism was a "multiplex belief-system which grew and expanded as it absorbed and synthesised polaristic ideas and cultic traditions" It was distinguished from its Vedic Smarta roots by its popular base, its theological and sectarioan pluralism, its Tantric veneer, and the central place of _bhakti_.

The early mediaeval Puranas were composed to disseminate religious mainstream ideology among the pre-literate tribal societies undergoing acculturation . With the breakdown of the Gupta empire, gifts of virgin waste-land were heaped on brahmanas, to ensure provitable agrarical exploitation of land owned by the kings, but also to provide status to the new ruling classes. Brahmanas spread further over India, interacting with local clans with different religions and ideologies. The Brahmanas used the Puranas to incorporate those clans into the agrarical society and its accompanying religion and ideology. According to Flood, "he Brahmans who followed the puranic religion became known as _smarta _, those whose worship was based on the _smriti_, or _pauranika _, those based on the Puranas." Local chiefs and peasants were absorbed into the varna , which was used to keep "control over the new _kshatriyas_ and _shudras_." The Brahmanic group was enlarged by incorporating local subgroups, such as local priets. This also lead to a stratification within the Brahmins, with some Brahmins having a lower status than other Brahmins. The use of caste worked better with the new Puranic Hinduism than with the sramanic sects. The Puranic texts provided extensive genealogies which gave status to the new _kshatriyas_. Buddhist myths pictured government as a contract between an elected ruler and the people. And the Buddhist _chakkavatti_ "was a distinct concept from the models of conquest held up to the _kshatriyas_ and the Rajputs."

Many local religions and traditions were assimilated into puranic Hinduism. Vishnu and Shiva emerged as the main deities, together with Sakti/Deva. Vishnu subsumed the cults of Narayana , Jagannaths , Venkateswara "and many others". Nath:

ome incarnations of Vishnu such as Matsya, Kurma, Varaha and perhaps even Nrsimha helped to incorporate certain popular totem symbols and creation myths, specially those related to wild boar, which commonly permeate preliterate mythology, others such as Krsna and Balarama became instrumental in assimilating local cults and myths centering around two popular pastoral and agricultural gods.

The transformation of Brahmanism into Pauranic Hinduism in post-Gupta India was due to a process of acculturation . The Puranas helped establish a religious mainstream among the pre-literate tribal societies undergoing acculturation. The tenets of Brahmanism and of the Dharmashastras underwent a radical transformation at the hands of the Purana composers, resulting in the rise of a mainstream "Hinduism" that overshadowed all earlier traditions.

Bhakti Movement

Main article: Bhakti movement See also: Tulsidas , Kabir , Mirabai , and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Rama and Krishna became the focus of a strong _bhakti_ tradition, which found expression particularly in the _ Bhagavata Purana _. The Krishna tradition subsumed numerous Naga, yaksa and hill and tree based cults. Siva absorbed local cults by the suffixing of _Isa_ or _Isvara_ to the name of the local deity, for example Bhutesvara, Hatakesvara, Chandesvara. In 8th-century royal circles, the Buddha started to be replaced by Hindu gods in pujas. This also was the same period of time the Buddha was made into an avatar of Vishnu.

The first documented bhakti movement was founded by Karaikkal-ammaiyar . She wrote poems in Tamil about her love for Shiva and probably lived around the 6th century CE. The twelve Alvars who were Vaishnavite devotees and the sixty-three Nayanars who were Shaivite devotees nurtured the incipient bhakti movement in Tamil Nadu .

During the 12th century CE in Karnataka, the Bhakti movement took the form of the Virashaiva movement. It was inspired by Basavanna , a Hindu reformer who created the sect of Lingayats or Shiva _bhaktas_. During this time, a unique and native form of Kannada literature-poetry called Vachanas was born.

Advaita Vedanta

Main articles: Advaita Vedanta and Adi Shankara

Shankara (8th century CE) is regarded as the greatest exponent of Advaita Vedanta. Shankara himself, and his grand-teacher Gaudapada , were influenced by Buddhism. Gaudapda took over the Buddhist doctrines that ultimate reality is pure consciousness (_vijñapti-mātra_) and "that the nature of the world is the four-cornered negation". Gaudapada "wove into a philosophy of the _Mandukya Upanishad _, which was further developed by Shankara". Gaudapada also took over the Buddhist concept of "ajāta" from Nagarjuna\'s Madhyamaka philosophy. Shankara succeeded in reading Gaudapada's _mayavada_ into Badarayana's _ Brahma Sutras_, "and give it a _locus classicus_", against the realistic strain of the _Brahma Sutras_.

Shankara is the founder of the _ Dashanami Sampradaya _ of Hindu monasticism and _ Shanmata _ tradition of worship. Shankara is also regarded as the greatest teacher and reformer of the Smartha Tradition . According to Hinduism-guide.com:

Not all Brahmins specialized in this Smriti tradition. Some were influenced by Buddhism, Jainism or Charvaka tradition and philosophy. This did not mean that all these people rejected the authority of Vedas, but only that their tradition of worship and philosophy was based not on smriti texts. In time, Shankaracharya brought all the Vedic communities together. He tried to remove the non-smriti aspects that had crept into the Hindu communities. He also endeavoured to unite them by arguing that any of the different Hindu gods could be worshipped, according to the prescriptions given in the smriti texts. He established that worship of various deities are compatible with Vedas and is not contradictory, since all are different manifestations of one nirguna Brahman . Shankaracharya was instrumental in reviving interest in the smritis.

In modern times, due to the influence of western Orientalism and Perennialism on Indian Neo- Vedanta and Hindu nationalism , Advaita Vedanta has acquired a broad acceptance in Indian culture and beyond as the paradigmatic example of Hindu spirituality.

Contact With Persia And Mesopotamia

Hindu and also Buddhist religious and secular learning had first reached Persia in an organised manner in the 6th century, when the Sassanid Emperor Khosrau I (531–579) deputed Borzuya the physician as his envoy, to invite Indian and Chinese scholars to the Academy of Gundishapur . Burzoe had translated the Sanskrit Panchatantra . His Pahlavi version was translated into Arabic by Ibn al-Moqaffa under the title of _ Kalila and Dimna _ or _The Fables of Bidpai_.

Under the Abbasid caliphate, Baghdad had replaced Gundishapur as the most important centre of learning in the then vast Islamic Empire , wherein the traditions as well as scholars of the latter flourished. Hindu scholars were invited to the conferences on sciences and mathematics held in Baghdad.



Main articles: Muslim conquest of South Asia and Islam in India Babur visits a Hindu temple.

Though Islam came to Indian subcontinent in the early 7th century with the advent of Arab traders, it started impacting Indian religions after the 10th century, and particularly after the 12th century with the establishment and then expansion of Islamic rule . Will Durant calls the Muslim conquest of India "probably the bloodiest story in history". During this period, Buddhism declined rapidly while Hinduism faced military-led and Sultanates-sponsored religious violence. There was a widespread practice of raids, seizure and enslavement of families of Hindus, who were then sold in Sultanate cities or exported to Central Asia. Some texts suggest a number of Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam. Starting with 13th century, for a period of some 500 years, very few texts, from the numerous written by Muslim court historians, mention any "voluntary conversions of Hindus to Islam", suggesting its insignificance and perhaps rarity of such conversions. Typically enslaved Hindus converted to Islam to gain their freedom. There were occasional exceptions to religious violence against Hinduism. Akbar , for example, recognized Hinduism, banned enslavement of the families of Hindu war captives, protected Hindu temples, and abolished discriminatory Jizya (head taxes) against Hindus. However, many Muslim rulers of Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire , before and after Akbar, from 12th century to 18th century, destroyed Hindu temples and persecuted non-Muslims .


Hinduism underwent profound changes, aided in part by teachers such as Ramanuja , Madhva , and Chaitanya . Followers of the Bhakti movement moved away from the abstract concept of Brahman , which the philosopher Adi Shankara consolidated a few centuries before, with emotional, passionate devotion towards the more accessible Avatars , especially Krishna and Rama. According to Nicholson, already between the 12th and the 16th century, "certain thinkers began to treat as a single whole the diverse philosophical teachings of the Upanishads, epics, Puranas, and the schools known retrospectively as the "six systems" (_saddarsana_) of mainstream Hindu philosophy." Michaels notes that a historicization emerged which preceded later nationalism, articulating ideas which glorified Hinduism and the past.


The fall of Vijayanagar Empire to Muslim rulers had marked the end of Hindu imperial assertions in the Deccan . But, taking advantage of an over-stretched Mughal Empire (1526–1857), Hinduism once again rose to political prestige, under the Maratha Empire , from 1674 to 1818.

Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire Further information: Mughal period and Indo-Persian culture

After the conquest of Persia by the Mongol Empire , a regional Turko-Persio-Mongol dynasty formed. Just as eastern Mongol dynasties inter-married with locals and adopted the local religion of Buddhism and the Chinese culture , this group adopted the local religion of Islam and the Persian culture ; their descendants ruled in India as Mughals .

The official State religion of the Mughal Empire was Islam , with the preference to the jurisprudence of the Hanafi Madhhab (Mazhab). Hinduism remained under strain during Babur and Humanyun's reigns. Sher Shah Suri, the Afghan ruler of North India was comparatively non-repressive. Hinduism came to fore during the three-year rule of Hindu king ' Hemu ' during 1553-56 when he had defeated Akbar at Agra and Delhi and had taken up the reign from Delhi as a Hindu 'Vikramaditya' king after his 'Rajyabhishake' or coronation at 'Purana Quila ' in Delhi. However, during Mughal history, at times, subjects had freedom to practise any religion of their choice, though Non- Muslim able-bodied adult males with income were obliged to pay the Jizya (poll-tax to be spent by the State only on protection of non-Muslims), which signified their status as Dhimmis (responsibility of the State, in regard to safety of life and property). Photograph of the Surya Temple, The most impressive and grandest ruins in Kashmir, at Marttand-Hardy Cole's Archaeological Survey of India Report 'Illustrations of Ancient Buildings in Kashmir.' (1869)

Akbar , the Mughal emperor Humayun 's son and heir from his Sindhi queen Hameeda Banu Begum, had a broad vision of Indian and Islamic traditions. One of Emperor Akbar 's most unusual ideas regarding religion was Din-i-Ilahi ( Faith of God), which was an eclectic mix of Islam , Zoroastrianism , Hinduism, Jainism and Christianity . It was proclaimed the state religion until his death. These actions however met with stiff opposition from the Muslim clergy, especially the Sufi Shaykh Alf Sani Ahmad Sirhindi . Akbar's abolition of poll-tax on non-Muslims, acceptance of ideas from other religious philosophies, toleration of public worship by all religions and his interest in other faiths showed an attitude of considerable religious tolerance, which, in the minds of his orthodox Muslim opponents, were tantamount to apostasy .

Akbar's son, Jahangir , half Rajput, was also a religious moderate, his mother being Hindu. The influence of his two Hindu queens (the Maharani Maanbai and Maharani Jagat) kept religious moderation as a centre-piece of state policy which was extended under his son, Emperor Shah Jahan , who was by blood 75% Rajput and less than 25% Moghul .

Religious orthodoxy would only play an important role during the reign of Shah Jahan's son and successor, Aurangzeb , a devout Sunni Muslim. Aurangzeb was comparatively less tolerant of other faiths than his predecessors had been, and his reign saw an increase in the number and importance of Islamic institutions and scholars. He led many military campaigns against the remaining non- Muslim powers of the Indian subcontinent – the Sikh states of the Punjab, the last independent Hindu Rajputs and the Maratha rebels – as also against the Shia Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan . He also virtually stamped out, from his empire, open proselytisation of Hindus and Muslims by foreign Christian Missionaries , who remained successfully active, however, in the adjoining regions: the present day Kerala , Tamil Nadu and Goa .

Maratha Empire

Main article: Maratha Empire The last Hindu empire of India – The Maratha Empire in 1760.

The Hindu Marathas long had lived in the Desh region around Satara , in the western portion of the Deccan plateau, where the plateau meets the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats mountains. They had resisted incursions into the region by the Muslim Mughal rulers of northern India. Under their ambitious leader Shivaji , the Maratha freed themselves from the Muslim sultans of Bijapur to the southeast and, becoming much more aggressive, began to frequently raid Mughal territory, eventually sacking the wealthy Mughal port of Surat in 1664. After substantial territorial gains, Shivaji was proclaimed 'Chhatrapati' (Emperor) in 1674; the Marathas had spread and conquered much of central India by Shivaji's death in 1680. Subsequently, under the able leadership of Brahmin prime ministers ( Peshwas ), the Maratha Empire reached its zenith; Pune , the seat of Peshwas, flowered as a centre of Hindu learning and traditions. The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , Pakistan ) in the north, and Bengal and Andaman Islands in the east. In 1761, the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat to Ahmad Shah Abdali of the Afghan Durrani Empire which halted their imperial expansion into Afghanistan . Ten years after Panipat, the young Peshwa Madhavrao I 's Maratha Resurrection reinstated Maratha authority over North India .

In 1761, the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat to Ahmad Shah Abdali of the Afghan Durrani Empire which halted their imperial expansion into Afghanistan . Ten years after Panipat, the Peshwa Madhavrao I 's Maratha Resurrection reinstated Maratha authority over North India . In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, he gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, which created a confederacy of Maratha states. They became known as the Gaekwads of Baroda , the Holkars of Indore and Malwa , the Scindias of Gwalior and Ujjain , the Bhonsales of the Nagpur and the Puars of Dhar "> 1909 PREVAILING RELIGIONS, Map of British Indian Empire, 1909, showing the prevailing majority religions of the population for different districts.

During the 19th century, Hinduism developed a large number of new religious movements , partly inspired by the European Romanticism , nationalism , scientific racism and esotericism ( Theosophy ) popular at the time (while conversely and contemporaneously, India had a similar effect on European culture with Orientalism , " Hindoo style " architecture, reception of Buddhism in the West and similar). According to Paul Hacker, "the ethcial values of Neo- Hinduism stem from Western philosophy and Christianity, although they are expressed in Hindu terms."

These reform movements are summarised under Hindu revivalism and continue into the present.

* Sahajanand Swami establishes the Swaminarayan Sampraday sect around 1800. * Brahmo Samaj is a social and religious movement founded in Kolkata in 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy . He was one of the first Indians to visit Europe and was influenced by western thought. He died in Bristol , England. The Brahmo Samaj movement thereafter resulted in the Brahmo religion in 1850 founded by Debendranath Tagore — better known as the father of Rabindranath Tagore . * Sri Ramakrishna and his pupil Swami Vivekananda led a reform in Hinduism in the late 19th century. Their ideals and sayings have inspired numerous Indians as well as non-Indians, Hindus as well as non-Hindus. Among the prominent figures whose ideals were very much influenced by them were Rabindranath Tagore , Gandhi , Subhas Bose , Satyendranath Bose , Megh Nad Saha , and Sister Nivedita . * Arya Samaj ("Society of Nobles ") is a Hindu reform movement in India that was founded by Swami Dayananda in 1875. He was a sannyasin (renouncer) who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas . Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma and reincarnation , and emphasised the ideals of brahmacharya (chastity ) and sanyasa (renunciation ). Dayananda claimed to be rejecting all non-Vedic beliefs altogether. Hence the Arya Samaj unequivocally condemned idolatry , animal sacrifices , ancestor worship , pilgrimages , priestcraft, offerings made in temples , the caste system, untouchability and child marriages , on the grounds that all these lacked Vedic sanction. It aimed to be a universal church based on the authority of the Vedas . Dayananda stated that he wanted 'to make the whole world Aryan', i.e. he wanted to develop _missionary _ Hinduism based on the universality of the Vedas. To this end, the Arya Samaj started Shuddhi movement in the early 20th century to bring back to Hinduism people converted to Islam and Christianity , set up schools and missionary organisations, and extended its activities outside India. It now has branches around the world and has a disproportional number of adherents among people of Indian ancestry in Suriname and the Netherlands, in comparison with India.


Main article: Hinduism in the West Further information: Sanskrit in the West , Esotericism in Germany and Austria , and Ramakrishna\'s impact

An important development during the British colonial period was the influence Hindu traditions began to form on Western thought and new religious movements . An early champion of Indian-inspired thought in the West was Arthur Schopenhauer who in the 1850s advocated ethics based on an "Aryan-Vedic theme of spiritual self-conquest", as opposed to the ignorant drive toward earthly utopianism of the superficially this-worldly "Jewish" spirit. Helena Blavatsky moved to India in 1879, and her Theosophical Society , founded in New York in 1875, evolved into a peculiar mixture of Western occultism and Hindu mysticism over the last years of her life.

The sojourn of Vivekananda to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 had a lasting effect. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission , a Hindu missionary organisation still active today.

In the early 20th century, Western occultists influenced by Hinduism include Maximiani Portaz – an advocate of "Aryan Paganism" – who styled herself _Savitri Devi_ and Jakob Wilhelm Hauer , founder of the German Faith Movement . It was in this period, and until the 1920s, that the swastika became a ubiquitous symbol of good luck in the West before its association with the Nazi Party became dominant in the 1930s.

Hinduism-inspired elements in Theosophy were also inherited by the spin-off movements of Ariosophy and Anthroposophy and ultimately contributed to the renewed New Age boom of the 1960s to 1980s, the term _New Age_ itself deriving from Blavatsky's 1888 _The Secret Doctrine _.

Influential 20th-century Hindus were Ramana Maharshi , B.K.S. Iyengar , Paramahansa Yogananda , Prabhupada (founder of ISKCON ), Sri Chinmoy , Swami Rama and others who translated, reformulated and presented Hinduism's foundational texts for contemporary audiences in new iterations, raising the profiles of Yoga and Vedanta in the West and attracting followers and attention in India and abroad.


Main articles: Contemporary Hindu movements , Hindu denominations , Contemporary Sant Mat movements , List of Hindu organisations , and Hinduism by country

As of 2007, of an estimated 944 million Hindus, 98.5% live in South Asia. Of the remaining 1.5% or 14 million, 6 million live in Southeast Asia (mostly Indonesia ), 2 million in Europe, 1.8 million in North America, 1.2 million in Southern Africa .


Modern Hinduism is the reflection of continuity and progressive changes that occurred in various traditions and institutions of Hinduism during the 19th and 20th centuries. Its main divisions are into Vaishnavism (largely influenced by Bhakti ), Shaivism , Shaktism and Smartism (Advaita Vedanta ).

Besides these traditional denominations, movements of Hindu revivalism look to founders such as Swami Vivekananda , Swami Dayananda ( Arya Samaj ), Rabindranath Tagore , Ramana Maharshi , Aurobindo , Shriram Sharma Acharya , Swami Sivananda , Swami Rama Tirtha , Narayana Guru , Paramhansa Yogananda , Swami Chinmayananda , Shrii Shrii Anandamurti , Pandurang Shastri Athavale (Swadhyay Movement ) and others.

The Hindutva movement advocating Hindu nationalism originated in the 1920s and has remained a strong political force in India. The major party of the religious right, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), since its foundation in 1980 has won several elections, and after a defeat in 2004 remained the leading force of opposition against the coalition government of the Congress Party . The last national general election, held in early 2014, saw a dramatic victory of BJP; it gained an absolute majority and formed the government, with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister .


Main article: Hinduism in Southeast Asia

The resurgence of Hinduism in Indonesia is occurring in all parts of the country. In the early seventies, the Toraja people of Sulawesi were the first to be identified under the umbrella of 'Hinduism', followed by the Karo Batak of Sumatra in 1977 and the Ngaju Dayak of Kalimantan in 1980.

The growth of Hinduism has been driven also by the famous Javanese prophesies of Sabdapalon and Jayabaya . Many recent converts to Hinduism had been members of the families of Sukarno 's PNI, and now support Megawati Sukarnoputri . This return to the 'religion of Majapahit ' (Hinduism) is a matter of nationalist pride.

The new Hindu communities in Java tend to be concentrated around recently built temples (_pura_) or around archaeological temple sites (_candi_) which are being reclaimed as places of Hindu worship. An important new Hindu temple in eastern Java is Pura Mandaragiri Sumeru Agung , located on the slope of Mt. Semeru , Java's highest mountain. Mass conversions have also occurred in the region around Pura Agung Blambangan, another new temple, built on a site with minor archaeological remnants attributed to the kingdom of Blambangan , the last Hindu polity on Java, and Pura Loka Moksa Jayabaya (in the village of Menang near Kediri).


Further information: Hinduism in the West

In modern times Smarta-views have been highly influential in both the Indian and western understanding of Hinduism via Neo- Vedanta . Vivekananda was an advocate of Smarta-views, and Radhakrishnan was himself a Smarta-Brahman. According to iskcon.org,

Many Hindus may not strictly identify themselves as Smartas but, by adhering to Advaita Vedanta as a foundation for non-sectarianism, are indirect followers.

Influential in spreading Hinduism to a western audience were Swami Vivekananda , A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Hare Krishna movement ), Sri Aurobindo , Meher Baba , Osho , Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ( Transcendental Meditation ), Jiddu Krishnamurti , Sathya Sai Baba , Mother Meera , among others.


In the 20th century, Hinduism also gained prominence as a political force and a source for national identity in India. With origins traced back to the establishment of the Hindu Mahasabha in the 1910s, the movement grew with the formulation and development of the Hindutva ideology in the following decades; the establishment of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925; and the entry, and later success, of RSS offshoots Jana Sangha and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in electoral politics in post-independence India. Hindu religiosity plays an important role in the nationalist movement.


* History of India * History of Yoga * History of Shaivism * Indian religions * Religion in India


* ^ See:

* "Oldest religion":

* Fowler (1997 , p. 1): "probably the oldest religion in the world" * Gellman Klostermaier 2007 , p. 1)

* Laderman (2003 , p. 119): "world's oldest living civilisation and religion" * Turner & 1996-B , p. 359): "It is also recognized as the oldest major religion in the world"

Smart (1993 , p. 1), on the other hand, calls it also one of the youngest religions: " Hinduism could be seen to be much more recent, though with various ancient roots: in a sense it was formed in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century." See also:

* Urreligion , Shamanism , Animism , Ancestor worship for some of the oldest forms of religion * Sarnaism and Sanamahism , Indian Tribal religions connected to the earliest migrations into India * Australian Aboriginal mythology , one of the oldest surviving religions in the world.

* ^ Among its roots are

* the Vedic religion (Flood 1996 , p. 16) of the late Vedic period and its emphasis on the status of Brahmans (Samuel 2010 , pp. 48–53), but also * the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation (Narayanan 2009 , p. 11, Lockard 2007 , p. 52, Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 3, Jones & Ryan 2006 , p. xviii), * the Sramana or renouncer traditions (Gomez 2013 , p. 42, Flood 1996 , p. 16) of north-east India (Gomez 2013 , p. 42), and * "popular or local traditions " (Flood 1996 , p. 16)

* ^ There is no exact dating possible for the beginning of the Vedic period. Witzel mentions a range between 1900 and 1400 BCE. Flood mentions 1500 BCE. * ^ Lockard (2007 , p. 50): "The encounters that resulted from Aryan migration brought together several very different peoples and cultures, reconfiguring Indian society. Over many centuries a fusion of Aryan and Dravidian occurred, a complex process that historians have labeled the Indo-Aryan synthesis." Lockard: " Hinduism can be seen historically as a synthesis of Aryan beliefs with Harappan and other Dravidian traditions that developed over many centuries." * ^ Hiltebeitel (2007 , p. 12): "A period of consolidation, sometimes identified as one of " Hindu synthesis," Brahmanic synthesis," or "orthodox synthesis," takes place between the time of the late Vedic Upanishads (c. 500 BCE) and the period of Gupta imperial ascendency" (c. 320-467 CE)."

* ^ See also:

* J.H. Hutton (1931), in Ghurye, Govind Sadashiv (1980), _The Scheduled Tribes of India_, Transaction Publishers, pp. 3–4 * Zimmer, Heinrich (1951), _Philosophies of India_, Princeton University Press, pp. 218–219 * Tyler (1973), _India: An Anthropological Perspective_, Goodyear Publishing Company. In: Sjoberg 1990 , p. 43 * Sjoberg, Andree F. (1990), "The Dravidian Contribution To The Development Of Indian Civilization: A Call For A Reassesment", _Comparative Civilizations Review_, 23: 40–74 * Flood, Gavin D. (1996), _An Introduction to Hinduism_, Cambridge University Press, p. 16 * Nath, Vijay (2001), "From 'Brahmanism' to 'Hinduism': Negotiating the Myth of the Great Tradition", _Social Scientist_: 19–50 * Werner, karel (2005), _A Popular Dictionary of Hinduism_, Routledge, pp. 8–9 * Lockard, Craig A. (2007), _Societies, Networks, and Transitions. Volume I: to 1500_, Cengage Learning, p. 50 * Hiltebeitel, Alf (2007), _Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture"_, Routledge * Hopfe, Lewis M.; Woodward, Mark R. (2008), _Religions of the World_, Pearson Education, p. 79 * Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), _The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century_, Cambridge University Press

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ See:

* White (2006 , p. 28): "he religion of the Vedas was already a composite of the indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations." * Gombrich (1996 , pp. 35–36): "It is important to bear in mind that the Indo-Aryans did not enter an unhabitated land. For nearly two millennia they and their culture gradually penetrated India, moving east and south from their original seat in the Punjab. They mixed with people who spoke Munda or Dravidian languages, who have left no traces of their culture beyond some archaeological remains; we know as little about them as we would about the Indo-Aryans if they had left no texts. In fact we cannot even be sure whether some of the archaeological finds belong to Indo-Aryans, autochthonous populations, or a mixture. It is to be assumed - though this is not fashionable in Indian historiography - that the clash of cultures between Indo-Aryans and autochtones was responsible for many of the changes in Indo-Aryan society. We can also assume that many - perhaps most - of the indigenous population came to be assimilated into Indo-Aryan culture.

* ^ _A_ _B_ The date of the production of the written texts does not define the date of origin of the Puranas (Johnson 2009 , p. 247). They may have existed in some oral form before being written down (Johnson 2009 , p. 247). * ^ _A_ _B_ Michaels (2004 , p. 38): "The legacy of the Vedic religion in Hinduism is generally overestimated. The influence of the mythology is indeed great, but the religious terminology changed considerably: all the key terms of Hinduism either do not exist in Vedic or have a completely different meaning. The religion of the Veda does not know the ethicised migration of the soul with retribution for acts (_karma_), the cyclical destruction of the world, or the idea of salvation during one's lifetime (_jivanmukti; moksa; nirvana_); the idea of the world as illusion (_maya_) must have gone against the grain of ancient India, and an omnipotent creator god emerges only in the late hymns of the rgveda. Nor did the Vedic religion know a caste system, the burning of widows, the ban on remarriage, images of gods and temples, Puja worship, Yoga, pilgrimages, vegetarianism, the holiness of cows, the doctrine of stages of life (_asrama_), or knew them only at their inception. Thus, it is justified to see a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions." See also Halbfass 1991 , pp. 1–2 * ^ University of Oslo: "During the period following Ashoka, until the end of the 7th century AD, the great gift ceremonies honoring the Buddha remained the central cult of Indian imperial kingdoms".

* ^ Samuel (2010 , p. 76): "Certainly, there is substantial textual evidence for the outward expansion of Vedic-Brahmanical culture." Samuel (2010 , p. 77): "he Buddhist _sutras_ describe what was in later periods a standard mechanism for the expansion of Vedic-Brahmanical culture: the settlement of Brahmins on land granted by local rulers." See also Vijay Nath (2001) .

Samuel (2010 , p. 199): "By the first and second centuries CE, the Dravidian-speaking regions of the south were also increasingly being incorporated into the general North and Central Indian cultural pattern, as were parts at least of Southeast Asia. The Pallava kingdom in South India was largely Brahmanical in orientation although it included a substantial Jain and Buddhist population, while Indic states were also beginning to develop in Southeast Asia." * ^ Larson (1995 , p. 81): "Also, the spread of the culture of North India to the South was accomplished in many instances by the spread of Buddhist and Jain institutions (monasteries, lay communities, and so forth). The Pallavas of Kanci appear to have been one of the main vehicles for the spread of specifically Indo-Brahmanical or Hindu institutions in the South, a process that was largely completed after the Gupta Age. As Basham has noted, "the contact of Aryan and Dravidian produced a vigorous cultural synthesis, which in turn had an immense influence on Indian civilization as a whole." * ^ Flood (1996 , p. 129): "The process of Sanskritization only began to significantly influence the south after the first two centuries CE and Tamil deities and forms of worship became adapted to northern Sanskrit forms." * ^ Wendy Doniger: "If Sanskritization has been the main means of connecting the various local traditions throughout the subcontinent, the converse process, which has no convenient label, has been one of the means whereby Hinduism has changed and developed over the centuries. Many features of Hindu mythology and several popular gods—such as Ganesha, an elephant-headed god, and Hanuman, the monkey god—were incorporated into Hinduism and assimilated into the appropriate Vedic gods by this means. Similarly, the worship of many goddesses who are now regarded as the consorts of the great male Hindu gods, as well as the worship of individual unmarried goddesses, may have arisen from the worship of non-Vedic local goddesses. Thus, the history of Hinduism can be interpreted as the interplay between orthoprax custom and the practices of wider ranges of people and, complementarily, as the survival of features of local traditions that gained strength steadily until they were adapted by the Brahmans." Vijay Nath (2001 , p. 31): " Visnu and Siva, on the other hand, as integral components of the Triad while continuing to be a subject of theological speculation, however, in their subsequent "avataras " began to absorb countless local cults and deities within their folds. The latter were either taken to represent the multiple facets of the same god or else were supposed to denote different forms and appellations by which the god came to be known and worshipped. Thus whereas Visnu came to subsume the cults of Narayana , Jagannatha , Venkateswara and many others, Siva became identified with countless local cults by the sheer suffixing of _Isa_ or _Isvara_to the name of the local deity, e.g., Bhutesvara, Hatakesvara, Chandesvara." * ^ Wendy Doniger: "The process, sometimes called "Sanskritization," began in Vedic times and was probably the principal method by which the Hinduism of the Sanskrit texts spread through the subcontinent and into Southeast Asia. Sanskritization still continues in the form of the conversion of tribal groups, and it is reflected in the persistence of the tendency among some Hindus to identify rural and local deities with the gods of the Sanskrit texts." * ^ See also Tanvir Anjum, _Temporal Divides: A Critical Review of the Major Schemes of Periodization in Indian History_.

* ^ Different periods are designated as "classical Hinduism":

* Smart (2003 , p. 52) calls the period between 1000 BCE and 100 CE "pre-classical". It is the formative period for the Upanishads and Brahmanism Jainism and Buddhism. For Smart, the "classical period" lasts from 100 to 1000 CE, and coincides with the flowering of "classical Hinduism" and the flowering and deterioration of Mahayana-buddhism in India. * For Michaels (2004 , pp. 36, 38), the period between 500 BCE and 200 BCE is a time of "Ascetic reformism", whereas the period between 200 BCE and 1100 CE is the time of "classical Hinduism", since there is "a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions". * Muesse (2003 , p. 14) discerns a longer period of change, namely between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, which he calls the "Classical Period". According to Muesse, some of the fundamental concepts of Hinduism, namely karma, reincarnation and "personal enlightenment and transformation", which did not exist in the Vedic religion, developed in this time. * Stein (2010 , p. 107) The Indian History Congress, formally adopted 1206 CE as the date medieval India began.

* ^ Called such, so as to distinguish them from the modern Dravidian populations of India, which are of predominantly Australoid racial stock

* ^

* Thani Nayagam (1963) : "... together with the evidence of archaeology would seem to suggest that the original Dravidian-speakers entered India from Iran in the fourth millennium BC ...". * Kumar (2004) : "The analysis of two Y chromosome variants, Hgr9 and Hgr3 provides interesting data (Quintan-Murci et al., 2001). Microsatellite variation of Hgr9 among Iranians, Pakistanis and Indians indicate an expansion of populations to around 9000 YBP in Iran and then to 6,000 YBP in India. This migration originated in what was historically termed Elam in south-west Iran to the Indus valley, and may have been associated with the spread of Dravidian languages from south-west Iran (Quintan-Murci et al., 2001)." * Mukherjee et al. (2011) : "More recently, about 15,000-10,000 years before present (ybp), when agriculture developed in the Fertile Crescent region that extends from Israel through northern Syria to western Iran, there was another eastward wave of human migration (Cavalli-Sforza et al., 1994; Renfrew 1987), a part of which also appears to have entered India. This wave has been postulated to have brought the Dravidian languages into India (Renfrew 1987). Subsequently, the Indo-European (Aryan) language family was introduced into India about 4,000 ybp ...".

* ^ Cordaux et al. (2004) : "Our coalescence analysis suggests that the expansion of Tibeto-Burman speakers to northeast India most likely took place within the past 4,200 years." * ^ Doniger (2010 , p. 66): "Much of what we now call Hinduism may have had roots in cultures that thrived in South Asia long before the creation of textual evidence that we can decipher with any confidence. Remarkable cave paintings have been preserved from Mesolithic sites dating from c. 30,000 BCE in Bhimbetka , near present-day Bhopal, in the Vindhya Mountains in the province of Madhya Pradesh." * ^ Jones & Ryan (2006 , p. xvii): "Some practices of Hinduism must have originated in Neolithic times (c. 4,000 BCE). The worship of certain plants and animals as sacred, for instance, could very likely have very great antiquity. The worship of goddesses, too, a part of Hinduism today, may be a feature that originated in the Neolithic." * ^ Mallory 1989 , p. 38f. The separation of the early Indo-Aryans from the Proto-Indo-Iranian stage is dated to roughly 1800 BCE in scholarship. * ^ Michaels (2004 , p. 33): "They called themselves _arya_ ("Aryans," literally "the hospitable," from the Vedic _arya_, "homey, the hospitable") but even in the Rgveda, _arya_ denotes a cultural and linguistic boundary and not only a racial one." * ^ There is no exact dating possible for the beginning of the Vedic period. Witzel (1995 , pp. 3–4) mentions a range between 1900 and 1400 BCE. Flood (1996 , p. 21) mentions 1500 BCE. * ^ Allchin Harmatta 1992)." * ^ Kulke & Rothermund (1998) : "During the last decades intensive archaeological research in Russia and the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union as well as in Pakistan and northern India has considerably enlarged our knowledge about the potential ancestors of the Indo-Aryans and their relationship with cultures in west, central and south Asia. Previous excavations in southern Russia and Central Asia could not confirm that the Eurasian steppes had once been the original home of the speakers of Indo-European language." * ^ The Aryan migration theory has been challenged by some researchers (Michaels 2004 , p. 33, Singh 2008 , p. 186), due to a lack of archaeological evidence and signs of cultural continuity (Michaels 2004 , p. 33), hypothesizing instead a slow process of acculturation or transformation (Michaels 2004 , p. 33, Flood 1996 , pp. 30–35). Nevertheless, linguistic and archaeological data clearly show a cultural change after 1750 BCE (Michaels 2004 , p. 33), with the linguistic and religious data clearly showing links with Indo-European languages and religion (Flood 1996 , p. 33). According to Singh 2008 , p. 186, "The dominant view is that the Indo-Aryans came to the subcontinent as immigrants." * ^ Zimmer's point of view is supported by other scholars, such as Niniam Smart, in _Doctrine and argument in Indian Philosophy_, 1964, p.27-32 & p.76, (Crangle 1994 , p. 7) and S.K. Belvakar & R.D. Ranade in _History of Indian philosophy_, 1974 (1927), p.81 moksa/nirvana - the goal of human existence." * ^ King (1999) notes that Radhakrishnan was a representative of Neo- Vedanta , which had a specific understanding of Indian religions: "The inclusivist appropriation of other traditions, so characteristic of neo- Vedanta ideology, appears on three basic levels. First, it is apparent in the suggestion that the (Advaita) Vedanta philosophy of Sankara (c. eighth century CE) constitutes the central philosophy of Hinduism. Second, in an Indian context, neo- Vedanta philosophy subsumes Buddhist philosophies in terms of its own Vedantic ideology. The Buddha becomes a member of the Vedanta tradition, merely attempting to reform it from within. Finally, at a global level, neo- Vedanta colonises the religious traditions of the world by arguing for the centrality of a non-dualistic position as the _philosophia perennis_ underlying all cultural differences." * ^ Michaels (2004 , p. 38): "At the time of upheaval , many elements of the Vedic religion were lost". * ^ Hiltebeitel (2007 , p. 13): "The emerging self-definitions of Hinduism were forged in the context of continuous interaction with heterodox religions (Buddhists, Jains, Ajivikas) throughout this whole period, and with foreign people (Yavanas, or Greeks; Sakas, or Scythians; Pahlavas, or Parthians; and Kusanas, or Kushans) from the third phase on . * ^ Larson (2009 , p. 185): "n contrast to the _sruti_, which "Hindus for the most part pay little more than lip service to." * ^ Michaels (2004 , p. 40) mentions the Durga temple in Aihole and the Visnu Temple in Deogarh . Michell (1977 , p. 18) notes that earlier temples were built of timber, brick and plaster, while the first stone temples appeared during the period of Gupta rule.

* ^ Michaels (2004 , p. 41):

* In the east the Pala Empire (770–1125 CE), * in the west and north the Gurjara-Pratihara (7th–10th century), * in the southwest the Rashtrakuta Dynasty (752–973), * in the Dekkhan the Chalukya dynasty (7th–8th century), * and in the south the Pallava dynasty (7th–9th century) and the Chola dynasty (9th century).

* ^ McRae (2003) : This resembles the development of Chinese Chán during the An Lu-shan rebellion and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907–960/979) , during which power became decentralised end new Chán-schools emerged. * ^ Inden (1998 , p. 67): "Before the eighth century, the Buddha was accorded the position of universal deity and ceremonies by which a king attained to imperial status were elaborate donative ceremonies entailing gifts to Buddhist monks and the installation of a symbolic Buddha in a stupa This pattern changed in the eighth century. The Buddha was replaced as the supreme, imperial deity by one of the Hindu gods (except under the Palas of eastern India, the Buddha's homeland) Previously the Buddha had been accorded imperial-style worship (puja). Now as one of the Hindu gods replaced the Buddha at the imperial centre and pinnacle of the cosmo-political system, the image or symbol of the Hindu god comes to be housed in a monumental temple and given increasingly elaborate imperial-style puja worship." * ^ Thapar (2003 , p. 325): The king who ruled not by conquest but by setting in motion the wheel of law. * ^ Inden: "before the eighth century, the Buddha was accorded the position of universal deity and ceremonies by which a king attained to imperial status were elaborate donative ceremonies entailing gifts to Buddhist monks and the installation of a symbolic Buddha in a stupa....This pattern changed in the eighth century. The Buddha was replaced as the supreme, imperial deity by one of the Hindu gods (except under the Palas of eastern India, the Buddha's homeland)...Previously the Buddha had been accorded imperial-style worship (puja). Now as one of the Hindu gods replaced the Buddha at the imperial centre and pinnacle of the cosmo-political system, the image or symbol of the Hindu god comes to be housed in a monumental temple and given increasingly elaborate imperial-style puja worship." * ^ The term "mayavada" is still being used, in a critical way, by the Hare Krshnas. See * ^ See also "Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records"; more links at the bottom of that page; for Muslim historian's record on major Hindu temple destruction campaigns, from 1193 to 1729 AD, see Richard Eaton (2000), Temple Desecration and Indo- Muslim States, Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 3, pages 283-319 * ^ The tendency of "a blurring of philosophical distinctions" has also been noted by Burley (2007 , p. 34). Lorenzen locates the origins of a distinct Hindu identity in the interaction between Muslims and Hindus (Lorenzen 2006 , pp. 24–33), and a process of "mutual self-definition with a contrasting Muslim other" which started well before 1800 (Lorenzen 2006 , pp. 26–27). Both the Indian and the European thinkers who developed the term "Hinduism" in the 19th century were influenced by these philosophers (Nicholson 2010 , p. 2) * ^ Many historians consider Attock to be the final frontier of the Maratha Empire. * ^ This conjunction of nationalism and religion is not unique to India. The complexities of Asian nationalism are to be seen and understood in the context of colonialism, modernization and nation-building . See, for example, Anagarika Dharmapala , for the role of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lankese struggle for independence (McMahan 2008 ), and D.T. Suzuki , who conjuncted Zen to Japanese nationalism and militarism , in defense against both western hegemony _and_ the pressure on Japanese Zen during the Meiji Restoration to conform to Shinbutsu Bunri (Sharf 1993 , Sharf ">


* ^ Ghurye: He considers modern Hinduism to be the result of an amalgam between pre-Aryan Indian beliefs of Mediterranean inspiration and the religion of the Rigveda. "The Tribal religions present, as it were, surplus material not yet built into the temple of Hinduism".(Ghurye 1980 , p. 4) * ^ Tyler, in _India: An Anthropological Perspective_(1973), page 68, as quoted by Sjoberg, calls Hinduism a "synthesis" in which the Dravidian elements prevail: "The Hindu synthesis was less the dialectical reduction of orthodoxy and heterodoxy than the resurgence of the ancient, aboriginal Indus civilization. In this process the rude, barbaric Aryan tribes were gradually civilised and eventually merged with the autochthonous Dravidians. Although elements of their domestic cult and ritualism were jealously preserved by Brahman priests, the body of their culture survived only in fragmentary tales and allegories embedded in vast, syncretistic compendia. On the whole, the Aryan contribution to Indian culture is insignificant. The essential pattern of Indian culture was already established in the third millennium B.C., and ... the form of Indian civilization perdured and eventually reasserted itself (Sjoberg 1990 , p. 43). * ^ Hopfe -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

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